A few weeks ago, the news of Red Cypress Brewery’s impending closure shocked the craft beer community. While this news was sudden, it is a new issue that Floridian beer drinkers are realizing: there are more beers on tap lists and beer shelves than ever before.
February 15th, 2019 is the 122nd anniversary of Florida’s first craft brewery – The Florida Brewing Company of Ybor City. The brewery grand opened in 1897 to much fanfare as described in author Mark DeNote’s book The Great Florida Craft Beer Guide. 122 since the opening of the first brewery, Florida’s craft beer community has certainly had its ups and downs, its peaks and its valleys, but today the community is stronger than ever. Before 1990, you would not need to remove shoes to count the number of Florida breweries whereas today the number is over 300 with over 50 in the greater Tampa Bay area. Despite this immense growth, Florida’s brewing past is increasingly important as those who have come before have paved the way for so many after them.
Florida beer has grown by leaps and bounds for several years now, with the state’s haymaker breweries making names for themselves in the last ten years. While ten years of monumental growth in craft beer has been a boon to the state and its beer scene, new breweries are working to make names for themselves all the time. Many breweries are winning awards, accolades, and respect ever day, but some manage to fly under the radar and not get the accolades they deserve. In the last two years, so many breweries have come up in the Sunshine State and some of them are making good beer, some are doing good business locally, and some manage to find their niche and pour liquid gold.
IPA is a day to celebrate. It is not a Hallmark holiday designed by breweries to sell more IPA. IPA is the GABF Category with the most entries, it doesn’t really need any help. Instead, IPA Day is a chance to break out and try something hoppy and see what happens when brewers start to paint with these green flowers.